Quarry Gardens future could bloom with Premier

Original Toowoomba City Council plans for the Etopia quarry gardens in the Bridge Street Quarry. Photo Contributed
Original Toowoomba City Council plans for the Etopia quarry gardens in the Bridge Street Quarry. Photo Contributed Contributed

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has given the strongest indication yet the Quarry Gardens project may come to fruition.

In a whirlwind of tours and announcements on the back of State Cabinet at City Hall yesterday, Ms Palaszczuk suggested boosting Toowoomba's tourism industry was a priority for the State Government.

But with an estimated price tag of up to $120 million, there was no commitment to put money towards it.

"It's something I'm going to give serious consideration to and something (Mayor Paul Antonio) discussed with me this morning," Ms Palaszczuk said while touring the new $5.7 million Wilsonton State High School hall building site.

Handing the spotlight over to Toowoomba North candidate Kerry Shine, who shadowed the Premier on her tour around the city, the Quarry Gardens was touted as the solution to boosting the Garden City's tourism industry.

Giving himself "very short odds" on reclaiming the marginal seat, Mr Shine said the abandoned quarry project would cost between $80 million and $120 million and dated back to his time as a minister in the Beattie government.

After it was sidelined due to the decade-long drought, Mr Shine said the project would earn Toowoomba its reputation as the Garden City.

"Recently, private enterprise has also expressed a renewed interest in joining with the government and local government to progress that project," he said.

"It's a major project but it would provide a year-round tourist attraction for Toowoomba.

"With the opening of the Wellcamp airport, we're expecting an influx, particularly of Chinese visitors on a regular basis."

The commitment to investigate the gardens project, which sits atop the Toowoomba Regional Council's priority infrastructure list, came during the inspection of the $5.7 million Wilsonton State High School hall build.

Ms Palaszczuk, flanked by the inaugural school captains and Education Minister Kate Jones, said population growth would determine future school expansions but ruled out closing any more campuses.

Topics:  Annastacia Palaszczuk kerry shine quarry gardens state government toowoomba toowoomba regional council

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